Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Clippers owner Sterling agrees to sale of team

LOS ANGELES Clippers owner Donald Sterling agreed yesterday to sign off on selling the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for what would be a record $2 billion, according to his attorney.

Sterling "has made an agreement with the NBA to resolve all their differences" and as co-owner has given his consent to a deal that was negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the team, said attorney Maxwell Blecher.

Representatives for Shelly Sterling declined to comment. The NBA declined to comment yesterday afternoon.

Donald Sterling filed a $1 billion suit against the NBA in federal court last week alleging the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also says the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

Blecher said the suit will be dismissed. If the NBA owners approve the sale, it will be a record-high sum for a team that cost Donald Sterling about $12 million in 1981. Blecher's co-counsel, Bobby Samini, said the vote by league owners is expected to take place in mid-July.

Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill. Ballmer made more than an hourlong personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home last week and laid out his plan.

This is not Ballmer's first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed a group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving the team to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Vivek Ranadive.

Noteworthy

* Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant has capped his MVP season by being the lone unanimous choice to the All-NBA first team. Durant was a first-teamer on all 125 ballots, and made the top squad for the fifth time. Miami's LeBron James got 124 first-team votes on the way to being selected for the eighth time, while the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul earned his fourth first-team selection. Houston's James Harden and Chicago's Joakim Noah are first-time first-team choices.

Second-team All-NBA selections were San Antonio's Tony Parker, Golden State's Stephen Curry, the Clippers' Blake Griffin, Houston's Dwight Howard and Minnesota's Kevin Love. Portland's Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Phoenix's Goran Dragic, Indiana's Paul George and Charlotte's Al Jefferson were third-team selections.

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